The modern Pontiac GTO is an interesting history lesson, but not a widely celebrated muscle car. It was only available for three years, 2004-2006, and isn’t as emblematic for the brand as some of its 1960s counterparts or even the contemporary Firebird.
But rendering artists love celebrating unique old designs that you don’t see pop up very often, and TheSketchMonkey has made a name for himself digitally restomodding some of these modern classics. This week’s Photoshopping video features him taking on the 2004 Pontiac GTO in an attempt to bring it to 2023 standards of design.
The original GTO from the 1960s is credited with creating and popularizing the muscle car market. Its formula for using big V8 engines in aggressive coupes is still being used today. In 2004, Ford brought back the design of the classic era with its S197 Mustang, square-jawed and fitted with circular headlights. However, the Pontiac GTO didn’t use the same language and there’s a very good reason for that.
The 2004 Pontiac GTO may have been a 5th-gen model, but it wasn’t technically a Pontiac. GM North America chairman Bob Lutz read the Car and Driver review of the Australian Holden Commodore SS sometime around the year 2000 and got the idea of bringing this stateside with a Pontiac badge and grille.
But the reception wasn’t great, and they only managed to sell about 13,500 units for the first year, despite offering up discounts. The GTO was technically competent and it was available with a 6-speed manual, but the styling wasn’t enough to excite buyers. I feel like the Pontiac Firebird WS6 was a much sexier muscle car, even though it was old tech. Also, the famous generations of Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Magnum were all coming out at roughly that time.
However, TheSketchMonkey loves the simplicity and timelessness of the 2004 Pontiac and attempted a redesign rendering. Instead of starting from scratch, he chose to pick out elements from existing cars that are currently in production.
The lower bumper and grille were taken straight from the current Chevy Camaro. Meanwhile, narrow full-LED headlights are plucked straight off the new Acura Integra sports sedan. An interesting choice that actually works well.
Many Pontiac models are famous for having hood scoops, but since the 2004 GTO didn’t have them fitted as standard, the artist borrowed the whole bulging hood from a Charger Hellcat. In 2005, the GTO did get factory dual scoops. It’s worth noting that you could buy the Holden hood from Pontiac as part of the 2004 Sport Appearance Package. However, 2005 also matches this to the bigger LS2 6.0-liter V8 which produced 400 hp instead of the previous 350 hp of the LS1.